Donald Trump asks Turkey for audio-video evidence in Jamal Khashoggi case

Share

"I hope they haven't", Trump said, referring to King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. "We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned", he said according to news agency AP.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday he met with Saudi King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Washington Post on Wednesday published the final column written by Jamal Khashoggi before his disappearance on October 2 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The New York Times and the Post both reported late Tuesday that several people from the list of Saudi agents are linked to Saudi security services and the crown prince.

The reluctance of the Turks to turn over hard evidence they have said they have documenting Khashoggi's fate has led USA and European security officials to assess that the most brutal accounts of Khashoggi's demise are likely accurate, the sources said.

The official said the timing was a coincidence, and that transferring the $100 million "has multiple steps all of which clicked through over the past two months".

Pompeo has been gentle with the Saudis, issuing anodyne statements after the meeting like "I don't want to talk about any facts".

"There's always something that we want from them and that they want from us, and that's why the relationship survives".

- Fresh paint in consulate?

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities searched the home of Saudi Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi in Istanbul a day after he fled for Riyadh.

The Saudi consul Mohammed al-Otaibi left Istanbul for Riyadh on a scheduled Saudia flight Tuesday afternoon, with Ankara insisting he had not been expelled and left by his own choice.

Turkish police on Monday night, October 15 carried out an 8-hour search at the consulate, taking away soil and DNA samples. However there has yet to be any sign of this being published.

However, the possibility that his corpse "vaporized" between the consulate and the consul general's residence, where some of the alleged Saudi assassins reportedly went, "is gaining ground", Ozturk wrote, musing, "This could have been done with barrels full of acid or some other way". "They also indicated they would get this done quickly", said Pompeo.

Mr Khashoggi is a U.S. resident and columnist for the Washington Post newspaper who went into self-imposed exile a year ago after reportedly being warned by Saudi officials to stop criticising the crown prince's policies.

Another pro-government newspaper, Sabah, had reported at the weekend that Mr Khashoggi's Apple Watch recorded his interrogation, torture and killing, although some experts have said it is not likely that the watch could have done this at that location.

In the column, Khashoggi discussed the results of the 2018 "Freedom in the World" report and said he "came to a grave realization" that Tunisia was the "one country in the Arab world that has been classified as 'free.'" Three other countries were given "partly free" status, while the remaining were labeled as "not free", he said.

Earlier in the day, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), also announced that she would skip a high-profile Saudi economic event next week.

On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass called off his scheduled visit to Riyadh and asked Saudi officials to "fully cooperate" in the investigation. From Iran and Iraq to Syria, Yemen and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the administration gambled that Saudi Arabia, effectively run by the prince, could credibly lead, and willingly pay for, a "Pax Arabica" in a part of the world from which Trump is keen to disengage.

Trump tweeted that he spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who "totally denied any knowledge of what took place" in Istanbul. "I'm not sure yet that it exists", Trump said at the White House.

Share